There are two types of heroes. There is the "good samaritan" type hero who experiences a moment of complete transcendence. On a moment's notice, when espying a fellow in danger, he risks life and health and rushes to a victim's aid. The man who following a tornado saves children trapped in a collapsed school; the man who jumps into a frigid river to save a drowning victim; the man who fights a vicious dog that is mauling a pedestrian. Regarding such heroes the Talmud says, "There is one who earns his World-to-Come in one moment."

Then there's the individual for whom heroism isn't an extra-curricular activityBut then there's the individual whose heroism isn't a spur-of-the-moment act. A person for whom heroism isn't an extra-curricular activity; it defines who he is. Whether it's a person who turns down the opportunity to earn a large salary in favor of devoting his time to a charitable cause. Or the person who for an extended period of time stands by his convictions despite threats against his life and safety. A person who is willing to live by his ideals, despite the consequences of which he is very aware.

There are two types of holidays: a) Purim. b) All the others.

All other holidays are other-worldly experiences. We spend time in the synagogue, not at the workplace. We suspend our daily routines and focus on spirituality. Yes, there's Chanukah, whose eight days are normal workdays, but the holiday's observances are all of a spiritual nature. We light candles—a metaphor for spiritual light, Torah and mitzvot. We pray and recite the Hallel, Psalms of thanksgiving.

This standard holiday routine reflects the nature of the events that these days commemorate. Without exception, all of them celebrate miraculous events; events that transcended the natural order. for an ephemeral moment, our nation was lifted to a higher dimension.

And then there's Purim. The day's prayers are minimal—no longer than your average weekday. Instead, the day's mitzvot focus on community and family. Gift giving and feasting. Good food and wine. Very un-transcendent.

That's because the heroism we demonstrated during the Purim events wasn't transcendent. Haman issued his decree on the 13th of Nissan. The decree called for the Jews' annihilation eleven months later, on the 13th of Adar. Though Haman was hanged, the decree was never rescinded. And for eleven months the Jews lived in fear for their lives.

Gift giving and feasting. Good food and wine. Very un-transcendentBut there was an escape route. Haman's decree was aimed against "Yehudim," Jews who rejected idolatry. Life and security were guaranteed for anyone willing to abandon Judaism.

But throughout the eleven month period, not one Jews exercised this option. For more than 300 consecutive days, every Jew woke up, ate, went to work, spent his leisure time, went to sleep—all with a loyalty to G‑d that trumped the most basic instinct of self-preservation. They lived and breathed mesirat nefesh (supreme self-sacrifice).

Their heroism was rewarded. "On the day the enemies of the Jews had thought they would dominate them, the situation was reversed: the Jews dominated their enemies." And a holiday was established.

Can this miracle be commemorated with an other-worldly, transcendent synagogue session?